Hourly Wages and App Pricing

Scaling / August 3, 2011 / Ryan

Ben Brooks:

“it is something to keep in mind before you complain about how much that app is — considering that developers spend far more time making the app than you do making the money you are fretting about spending on the app”

A great piece about App pricing.

No Responses to “Hourly Wages and App Pricing”

    Roger Schulman
  1. That’s how I buy cars, too: how much does the car cost vs. how much time I’ll spend pumping gas into the tank. Of course, I’m being silly, but that’s exactly what this article is.
    A person’s sense of value is calculated by more –a lot more — than some equation comprising their hourly wage and the cost of the application. First and foremost, there’s the marketplace: what competition is out there that does the same job, or better, for as much money, or less? In the case of Daylite Touch, there’s a lot of competition, and for a lot less money. In the case of Daylite itself, there isn’t that much competition at any price, and I wish there were.
    Then there’s the quality of the app: it may do the job, but with how much finesse? How effortlessly? Does it go beyond doing the job and actually elicit a pleasurable response? The example used in the article is OmniFocus. It’s a beautiful app, elegantly designed, intuitive to use (mostly). Every time I use it, I feel a little bit better about how much it cost me. What about Daylite? Very powerful. But clunky. Ugly. Not intuitive at all. Every time I use it, I am satisfied — but never delighted. People will pay a lot of money for delight.
    Then there’s perceived value apart from wage. I’m not going to pay $28,000 for a bicycle, no matter how much money I earn, even if I need that bike to get to work. The sliding scale simply does not go on forever. But paying for Daylite Touch does — every year, year in, year out.
    Finally, there’s an intangible, purely emotional reaction I have to an app and its designer. Are my needs being met? If not, do I least feel that the company is listening to me, and trying? Again, that goes a long way toward justifying a price. For example, as good as Apple products are, one of the reasons I’m willing to pay a premium is the secure knowledge that Apple will almost certainly help me if I’m in trouble, and they will make good on a defect or error (not always, of course, but generally). Does that apply to Marketcircle? Not really. Look at forums and count the number of times someone expresses frustration at not being heard, at incredibly lengthy delays, at lack of communication, a general sense of wondering if the company is even plugged into the real world. That pain is especially keen in the OS X / iOS world, because these users in particular feel catered to, generally speaking. They are used to responsive, intutive hardware and software. The bar, in effect, is much higher than it might be fore a typical Windows user.
    It’s telling, in fact, that Marketcircle has chosen to post an article admonishing users — their customers — to think before “complaining” (read: whining) about how much they charge. Stop “fretting,” says the article. Well, charge me whatever you like; that’s your right. But permit me my whining and fretting if I think I’m being treated poorly.

  2. @Roger

    Thanks for the comments. I’m going to send you an email to discuss further.

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